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. tom's off tonight. americans are waiting to hear from president obama as he gives his state of the union speech. we look at his jobs plan and what wall street wants to hear from the president. and currency wars: g-7 countries say they're looking to boost their local economies, but critics say they're aiming to get ahead by weakening their currencies. that and more tonight on "n.b.r." we're hours away from president obama's state of the union address. americans aren't just listening for what he says but how he says it. will he strike a hopeful or optimistic tone, and will he offer a concrete plan to create jobs and grow the economy? washington bureau chief darren gersh reports. >> reporter: with more than half of americans thinking the economy is still in recession, it makes sense that the president is focused on a jobs agenda in his speech tonight. but while his plan may be new, the challenge is not. >> the economy is not growing fast because the demand for the goods and services that we can produce in this country has not increased very much. and unfortunately, the public s
growth, a rising thriving middle class. >> president obama delivered his fourth state of the union address tuesday. in attendance were senate and house members, six of the nine justices of the supreme court, the joint chiefs of staff, members of this cabinet and assorted dignitaries. over the course of one hour, the president unveiled proposals to boost the economy, help the middlal class, invest in the nation's aging infrastructure, create more high-tech manufacturing, a big emphasis, expand preschool education, up high school standards and make college more affordable >> nothing i'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. it is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth. >> the president also appeals to congress to work together on climate change, immigration reform, and particularly on the phony issue of automatic government budget cuts known as sequestration. >> question. when former president clinton took the helm during an economic downturn, he said he had a quote laser-like focus on
gersh reports, president obama today asked congress to delay the cuts before the march 1 deadline. >> reporter: with $44 billion in spending cuts in defense and most other federal programs just weeks away, the president urged congress to pass a mix of spending cuts and tax increases to ease the immediate hit. >> there is no reason that the jobs of thousands of americans who work in national security or education or clean energy, not to mention the growth of the entire economy, should be put in jeopardy just because folks in washington couldn't come together to eliminate a few special interest tax loopholes. >> reporter: republicans dismissed the calls for more tax increases, and many argue the threat of the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester are the only way to force democrats to accept more spending cuts. but their leverage may be limited. >> i think we will have the sequester for a short period of time, probably until the first civilian employee of the government is furloughed, which might take about a week. and then, that pain may be enough to cause the people on ca
&p 500 up 0.1%. in washington, this week's theme was the middle class. president obama underlined that in his state of the union address as did republicans in their response. there is wide-spread agreement america needs to do more to ease the anxieties of middle class families. but as darren gersh reports, solutions that help workers climb into the middle class and stay there are easy to talk about, but hard to implement. >> reporter: it may not solve all the problems, but a rapidly growing economy is a good place to start when it comes to creating middle class jobs. a tight labor market makes it possible for workers to demand raises and better benefits. which is why former obama adviser jared bernstein thinks economic austerity is the wrong medicine to take right now. >> you have public governments across europe and the united states sort of pulling out their fiscal supports too soon and that's hurting the middle class. >> reporter: of course conservatives consider bloated public spending a burden that threatens long-run economic growth which would hurt the middle class. and that
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